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'Cruelty' at abattoirs exposed

PUBLISHED: 16:44 08 October 2010 | UPDATED: 08:36 28 March 2014

OCTOBER 8, 2010: Moves are being taken to tighten up control of abattoirs after a shocking expose by an animal rights group.

The government is calling on nearly 370 slaughterhouses in Britain to install surveillance cameras to help enforce legislation against cruelty to animals, following a controversial campaign run by animal rights activists.

The Food Standards Agency plans to override objections in the meat industry to the move by saying breaches of the law are ‘unacceptable’ and enlisting the support of consumers and supermarkets for the campaign.

The move is seen as a victory for the animal rights charity Animal Aid, which installed secret cameras in seven abattoirs across England.

The charity said it had footage of pigs being kicked, stamped on and inappropriately stunned. The charity claimed undercover footage revealed "serious systemic problems" in a total of six abattoirs, including substandard treatment of pigs, sheep and cows. The campaign group gave only one abattoir a relatively clean bill of health.

Tim Smith, chief executive of the FSA, told a national newspaper he found images on the film "sickening". While he said he would not condone how the footage was obtained, he said Animal Aid's campaign had triggered a major rethink over accountability in the meat industry.

The abattoir owners said ‘comprehensive’ measures had now been taken, including CCTV installation and retraining of all staff with responsibility for animals.

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